Dear Members and Advocates,
I’m worried about my memory. I’m starting to forget things and I imagine it will get worse as I get older. I’m not talking about the momentary lapses like calling my kid by my dog’s name or the innocent oversights, like forgetting to pick up my in-laws at the airport. Those are harmless. I’m worried about the more important things. The ‘I’m sorry doctor, I could have sworn my colonoscopy was next week’ or not using the free coffee coupon I’ve been carrying for weeks that expired on 11/30/2020 – wait… are we in December already?
As I sat down to write this week’s update, I went to remind myself of last week’s topic and realized I forgot to send an update last week. Sorry about that, I promise you it’s not intentional. it’s simply that time escapes all of us sometimes or the accumulation of information that occupies space in our brains forces something else out. Or, it might be that something critical came up that distracted us from our intended plans and despite all good intention, life happened.
If I forget to write a weekly update, I might disappoint a few members. If I forget to pay a bill, I might incur a late fee. And if I forget my anniversary, my wife will definitely be upset with me for a couple of days. But it happens. Occasionally people honestly overlook something they were supposed to do, which is why the phrase “I forgot” exists. As I get older, the number of times I find myself saying “I’m sorry I forgot to call you back”, “it completely slipped my mind”, or asking “what day is it today?” is increasing. When I think about some of my older relatives who can’t remember my name, let alone my birthday, I know that my memory will inevitably become worse in the coming years and decades.
Yesterday, I came across this story about a 69 year old Marion County man who was arrested for being 2 days late for registration. It’s not like he was months late, just two days (actually, the Marion County registration office is closed on Wednesdays, so technically he missed it by a day) . It’s also not like they had to hunt him down, he went into the office and told the detective he just forgot to register. His conviction was more than fifteen years ago and this was his first issue since. His record shows no re-offense, no other criminal history. But for forgetting to register and being one day late, he was charged with ‘Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Reporting Requirements’, a third degree felony and is facing five years in prison.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about a situation such as this. I write about it because these are not one-offs. When I tell people who are entirely unfamiliar with the registry about this craziness they think I’m making it up. “Come on, that can’t happen”, they argue. No, this happens all the time. “He must have walked into the registration office with child porn or something”, they say. Not at all the case! If you’re an hour late to register something you have 48 hours to register, you can do 5 years in prison. “Oh, but nobody gets that amount of time, they probably will send him home with a fine”. No way, it’s a felony! Regardless of whether you intended to not show up or just forgot and missed a day, there’s actually a mandatory minimum sentence for this. And worse, by virtue of him being arrested for this pettiness, his opportunity to petition for removal is gone.
Everyone reading this is getting older. While I hope that all of us are as sharp and fit at age 90 as we are today, the reality is that most of us won’t be and nearly everyone on the registry will reach a point where they will physically or mentally be unable to comply with the pages of requirements that currently exist plus the additional ones they will undoubtedly try to add every year.
On several occasions we’ve called upon members to reach out to their legislators and point out situations such as this, and ask them to make provisions for individuals who are elderly or disabled or to remove the strict liability component from registration violations. Remind them that we all forget and if they can’t show some humanity and fix this problem, you have a lot of family members who will be forgetting to vote for them next election.
Finally, on a sad note, we received word that James Pesci passed away last week. Pesci was confined at the Florida Civil Commitment Center and for years had written a newsletter about the conditions at the FCCC (see this post about a lawsuit he brought). Among the things he wrote about, was the horrible medical care the “patients” received as they were involuntarily confined. One of the allegations in his complaint was that “FCCC’s medical staff caused a resident’s death.” We have been told that he died after an outbreak of COVID spread throughout the center. Rest in peace, James.
The Florida Action Committee
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
I wanted to bring your attention to something new that I encountered last night after I did my bi annual check in. I received a call from a deputy sheriff who asked me to step outside. Knowing that I had just done all my normal check in I stepped out side and met him….
By now we should all be familiar with what’s taking place in Michigan. After having its registry declared unconstitutional all the way to the 6th Circuit (and then the Supreme Court, which denied Certiorari), the state’s legislators have been trying to craft…
A Florida Man appealed a condition of his sentence that included a computer ban while he is on probation. He was sentenced to lifetime probation, which means he will never be able to use a computer. He argued that the condition was unconstitutional in light of the US…
The Dr. Phil Show airing on CBS will air an episode featuring Sex Stings next Monday, December 7, 2020. The show will feature an FAC member whose son was targeted in one of these stings who has been fighting to expose them since. Also featured is Florida attorney.